Most experts figured the Chicago Bears would be active early in free agency and they didn’t disappoint. So how would one rate their progress thus far?
Lamarr Houston an adequate solution to the Julius Peppers problem
The likelihood that the Bears were going to solve their defensive line problems with one big signing was never realistic. However, being able to get former Oakland end Lamarr Houston rates as a very underrated move. Not only does he have the length and speed to play on the edge, his 300 lbs frame also enables him to become a pass rusher threat from the interior. That kind of versatility is hard to come by and is something they can put to good use. Houston is just 26-years old, a team captain, durable and trending up in terms of production. If anything else he is a solution to the Julius Peppers salary cap problem. His addition allowed the Chicago Bears front office to cut the 34-year old, and begin their process of making a younger, more active defense.
Ryan Mundy brings toughness and experience to safety position
Their other sizeable move of day one in free agency was bringing in veteran safety Ryan Mundy. Never a full-time starter during his stints in Pittsburgh and New York, the 29-year old has nonetheless found a way to have an impact wherever he plays. It’s clear the Bears are giving him a two-year deal to compete for a starting job and most likely replace the departing Major Wright. It should bring more stability if anything else and increase the competition at that maligned safety position.
Phil Emery still has moves to make before NFL draft
Free agency is not a sprint. It is a marathon that comes in waves. Phil Emery proved last year he could find starters both early and later on. One fact that is becoming clear is he’s going to attack the entire defensive roster in an effort to give the Chicago Bears maximum flexibility to take the best player on the board when they go on the clock in May for the NFL draft. Bringing back D.J. Williams was an additional minor move that won’t get much press but does solve a short-term issue for the team at the middle linebacker position. Going down the list the GM has added an end, a safety and a linebacker. If the trend holds then fans can expect a corner and maybe another tackle in the next couple days. That would open the door for the team to concentrate on going after who they feel is the best talent rather than who fills the biggest need.